Let me just start by saying that I love food. Half of the reason I travel is to taste great foods and try local cuisines. Maybe it’s just me but I always feel like food abroad tastes so much better than food at home. And Italian food in particular has got to be one of my favourites. That’s why it was so much fun ‘researching’ for this post, the best restaurants in Venice. Any excuse to eat pasta and pizza eh!
What Are the Best Restaurants in Venice?
There are so many different restaurants in Venice, most of which serve traditional Italian food. There are so many beautiful family-run restaurants as well as some amazing places for takeaway pizza and pasta on the go. Top that off with a few great cicchetti bars and you’ve got every kind of food you could possible ask for in Venice.
This is the restaurant we chose for our first evening meal out. It was recommended to us by our Airbnb host, a born and bred Venetian. It’s not the easiest to find and certainly wouldn’t get a lot of passing trade so if this is one of the best restaurants in Venice, it’s also a well kept secret. The restaurant is owned by a Mr Pino, who served us and was very friendly. It’s a traditional restaurant serving traditional cuisine with very quaint, very cute decor. A little more pricey perhaps than a couple of the other restaurants we ate at but you’re paying for the experience as well as the food.
At Antica Sacrestia we chose their set menu, which consisted of a starter of lasagne, a meat or fish dish with seasonal vegetables and a pudding. The pasta was incredible, the pork tasty and the dessert was a traditional Italian chocolate mousse. Needless to say, it was to die for. The set menu came with an alcoholic beverage and what better choice than a bottle of red to wash it all down.
Trattoria da Gigi
On our next evening we found ourselves strolling around the city on the hunt for more great Italian food. Usually I ignore the waiters who call at you across the street and usher you into their restaurants. I like the freedom to choose where I want to eat without feeling pressured. However, stood outside Trattoria da Gigi was a really friendly Venetian who instead struck up a conversation. His motive still clear (I’m not that naive) but his manner was different to others I’d experienced across Europe. So in we went.
As we sat there a few minutes the restaurant got busier, always a good sign. We ordered our drinks with a young, chirpy waiter and browsed the extensive menu. I was beginning to realise that lots of Italians must eat pasta more as a starter than a main but not feeling hungry enough for another three courser, we ordered some bruschetta to share and a pasta dish each. The food was amazing and I love the vintage Venetian feel the place had. Trattoria da Gigi is definitely one of the best restaurants in Venice.
We actually walked past Birreria Barbara on our way home from Trattoria da Gigi the previous night. The restaurant was busy and characterful so we earmarked that for the next night.
Again, the bruschetta and the pasta dishes won us over. Call us boring but you can’t get any better than fresh pasta in Venice. This was probably the meal I enjoyed most, definitely pushing it up there for one of the best restaurants in Venice. I still have dreams about that creamy salmon pasta…
Another really traditional family owned Venetian restaurant. The day we dined at Dallo Zio it was a cold November day. The restaurant is set at the edge of a square, which in the summer I imagine would be beautiful and bustling with alfresco diners, but in November it was bitterly cold. Inside the warmth of the restaurant however every table was full. For us this was more of a quick lunch stop so we ordered coffees and a pizza to share, but plenty of other visitors were enjoying proper meals and drinking.
Yes the food was fabulous but what really stood out about Dallo Zio was the service. The waiters were extremely attentive and even made jokes to put smiles on our faces.
Al Verde Coffee & Wine
This establishment is definitely more of a cafe or wine bar than a restaurant but I had to include it in this list of best restaurants in Venice, because the food was exceptional. Again, this was more of a pit stop for us where we refuelled with a couple of lattés and some slices of pizza.
This place had a really good Venetian vibe. We were surrounded by locals and pigeons even wander inside the café pecking at crumbs on the floor. Not overly hygienic maybe but this seems to be just part of the Venetian culture.
Ristorante Pizzeria Principe on Burano
If you’re planning a day trip to the islands, Murano and Burano, then you’re bound to stop somewhere for a spot of lunch. My recommendation would be Ristorante Pizzeria Principe on Burano. You’ll notice it because of all the colourful umbrellas lining the canal with their tassels blowing gently in the breeze.
This is good food at an affordable price. Ok, so there’s not really such thing as a bad pizza in Italy but these pizzas are great. Soft doughy bases and so much topping! The pasta dishes are also delightful and varied. Whether you’re a fan of seafood, fish, meat or vegetables, there’s something for everyone.
Summary of the Best Restaurants in Venice
In all honesty we didn’t find a bad restaurant but if you’re after some of the best restaurants in Venice then make sure to check out some of these out. For a cosy and traditional meal search for the hidden Antica Sacrestia, or for tasty food on the go there are hundreds of cicchetti bars just like Al Verde. Are you planning a trip to Venice? Let me know where you end up dining!
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